Sunday, May 18, 2014

Diamondbacks' Randy Johnson Tosses Perfect Game

On May 18, 2004, Arizona Dimaondbacks hurler Randy Johnson became the 17th player in Major League Baseball history to pitch a perfect game, and the first in Diamondbacks franchise history.

At age 40, Johnson became the oldest player to accomplish the feat.

Randy Johnson acknowledging the crowd at Turner Field in Atlanta after his perfect game.
Randy Johnson would strikeout 13 Atlanta Braves batters en route to his perfect game, which took place at Atlanta’s Turner Field.  Johnson joined Cy Young, Jim Bunning, Nolan Ryan and Hideo Nomo as the only men to pitch no-hitters in both the American League and National League. 

Johnson’s two no-hitters came on June 2, 1990 and May 18, 2004, just under 14 years apart.

This was one of many career highlights for Johnson, as he was a 10-time All-Star, a five-time Cy Young winner, including four consecutive from 1999-2002.

In 2001 he led the Arizona Diamondbacks to a World Series Championship and was named the World Series MVP.

Johnson reacting to his perfect game.
Johnson would accumulate a record of 303 wins and 166 losses in his 22 year career that featured playing time with the Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants.

Johnson would finish his career with 4,875 strikeouts and 3.29 ERA. The strikeouts were Johnson’s calling card. He is one of only three pitchers to strike out 20 batters in a game, which he did so on May 8, 2001 against the Cincinnati Reds. He led the league in strikeouts nine times from 1992-1995, 1999-2002 and 2004. He also led the league in ERA four times, 1995, 1999, 2001 and 2002.

The 6’11 pitcher, dubbed "The Big Unit" was dominate over his career, tallying the most strikeouts for a left handed pitcher of all-time and the second most strikeouts ever just behind Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan who had 5,714 in his career.

Johnson defeated every single major-league team in his career at least once and pitched an immaculate inning once, using nine pitches to strike out three batters to end an inning. At the time of the feat Johnson was only pitcher number 30 to do so in MLB history.

Johnson does hold several records including being the oldest pitcher to pitch a perfect game, and most strikeouts for a lefty. He also holds the record for most strikeouts in a single relief appearance with 16 against the San Diego Padres on July 18, 2001.

Johnson was named the Sports Illustrated MLB All-Decade Team in 2009, and was named to the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame following his retirement in 2009.